science and democracy


A UCS Guide to Involving the Public in Rulemaking

Today, the Union of Concerned Scientists is releasing its second batch of fact sheets to guide federal agencies toward science-based decisionmaking. One of these fact sheets, “Public Participation in Rulemaking at Federal Agencies,” focuses on how agencies can involve individuals and communities across the US in the regulatory process in 2021 and beyond. Read more >

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David Everett Strickler/Unsplash

What Should the Next President do to Restore Science to Decisionmaking?

, Research scientist

Today, we’re releasing a new report, Presidential Recommendations for 2020: A Blueprint for Defending Science and Protecting the Public. In this report, we outline a suite of recommendations that the next president can take to protect the health and safety of the public through restoring science to government decisionmaking processes. The report focuses on strengthening three major principles underlying science-based decisionmaking: independence, transparency, and free speech.

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Cartoon: Justin Bilicki

Four New (Old) Ways the White House is Trying to Restrict Science for Policymaking

, director, Center for Science & Democracy

Yesterday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the White House issued new “guidance” for the Administration to “Improve Implementation of the Information Quality Act”. Unfortunately, it reads like a re-hashing of some of the worst ideas for restricting the use of science in policymaking from the last five years or so. Way back in 2015, when some members of Congress were trying some of these same tricks to tip the scales in favor of regulated industry we summarized them in a Policy Forum article in Science. Here we go again—but this time, the Trump administration is trying to push these changes through unilaterally, the latest round in a long list of efforts to push science to the sidelines. Read more >

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Cartoon: Justin Bilicki

5 Tips for Working in the Trump Administration Like an Absolute Pro

, Senior Energy analyst

Are you a new political appointee looking to join your administration peers in governing by deregulatory splash? Does the idea of winning the title of Best Worst Rule-Maker of Them All make you want to jump to the front to assume the mantle of dismantle? Would you be interested in throwing logic, scholarship, and ethics out the window in favor of the unbridled thrill of flying by the seat of no pants?

If yes, then read on, because the below five tips have been systematically shown to plummet Trump appointees from hero to zero in under one rulemaking flat.

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Justin Bilicki
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Photo: NCinDC/CC BY-ND 2.0 (Flickr)

DOI’s New Policy Restricts Science Under the Guise of Transparency

, researcher, Center for Science & Democracy

Last week, Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt issued an order, “Promoting Open Science”, purportedly to increase transparency and public accessibility of the research used by the Department to make science-based decisions. This seems dubious coming from a person who spent much of his career lobbying for the oil and gas industry and who at his confirmation hearing professed, “Here’s the reality: We’re going to look at the science whatever it is, but … policy decisions are made — this president ran and he won on a particular perspective.” The order, effective immediately, is not unlike the EPA’s “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” proposed rule, in that it restricts the use of science in important decisions that affects the public and our environment. Read more >

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